Kirbys Law - Motorcycle Lawyers , Biker Lawyers , Motorcycle Accident Lawyers, Motorcycle Accidents California
The Right Motorcycle for You
First things first. The motorcycle you buy has to fit the riding experience you want and your body size, leg length etc. If you are just learning to ride, you need to a motorcycle fit for beginners like a small 125cc motorcycle. You need to ride it in a large parking lot that is vacant so that you can get used to all the gears, turning, stopping quickly, etc. Before you start riding in the parking lot, you need to buy the right riding gear. A DOT (Department of Transportation) helmet is a must for safety of the brain. A full face helmet is the safest at first because it totally protects the face. Also, gloves, and decent boots are a must for riding and should not be forgotten.
The next thing you need to do is take a motorcycle safety class and while you are at it; pass the motorcycle safety class then take the advanced class.
Okay, you are now at the advanced beginners' stage and you have ridden your 125cc and are comfortable with it. You are able to stop it and know the laws for riding motorcycles. Most importantly you have ridden enough to feel safe in traffic. I would recommend that you spend at least six months riding this 125 or 250 on the streets so you feel safe.
What should be your next motorcycle? That really depends on what you want to use a motorcycle for. For instance, I love to travel the U.S. on a motorcycle so I have a bagger which can take luggage etc. You may just want to use your motorcycle for getting to work and back. There are a lot of bikes that fit that bill, made by a lot of manufacturers. Maybe you want to ride the canyons, which would take a sports bike and there are many types of those. Maybe you want to ride in the dirt and compete on dirt tracks and there are many of those bikes on the market also.
Whatever bike you decide to purchase; it must fit. You must be able to sit on it comfortably with both feet completely on the ground. You must also be able to reach with comfort all the controls on the motorcycle, i.e. the handlebars, the switches, the brakes etc. You must also be able to see clearly through the windshield if there is one and be able to feel comfortable at speed on the motorcycle. All motorcycles must be test driven over a long period in order for you to have a comfort level with them. This comfort level provides a higher degree of safety for you as the rider. Fit, comfort and safety are all vital elements for the enjoyment of motorcycle riding.
How to Pick a Lawyer
As a motorcycle rider you have seen all the advertisements. How do you make up your mind? First of all after you phone them and talk to them find out ‘WHO’ you actually might meet with. Many times, if not all the time, the person you talk to on the phone will not be meeting with you. This should send up an immediate ‘RED FLAG”. IF THIS PERSON, who is a lawyer and talks to you on the phone is not going to see you, then ‘WHY” are you talking to that person. You want to talk to the person who actually will see you. WHO IS GOING TO MEET WITH YOU? If it is not the person you are talking to, hang up, don’t waste your time.
Next you need to know is the person you are talking to actually a “lawyer” and if so ask the following question. WHAT STATE ARE YOU LICENSED IN? Many times people advertise for cases and you call them and you are talking to someone who is not even licensed in the State your accident happened in.
After you find out who you are talking to on the phone and if they are licensed in the State you are located in, you can then ask them the following question. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU TRIED A CASE RESULTING IN A MILLION DOLLAR VERDICT? Make them tell you the case and county it was tried in and case number and then research what they said and find out if they are telling the truth. You do not want to talk to an attorney who has not tried cases to verdict recently with results over One Million Dollars. Don’t let them B.S. you on this issue. Many so called lawyers never go to trial and this is a good test.
After you have asked the above questions, you want to know what is the contract they may want you to sign. Get the contract and read it and understand it before you sign it. Do not sign any contract with any attorney unless you understand the entire contract. If the attorney you are talking to cannot fax or e-mail you the contract to read in advance then hang up on them. They want to come out and see you and get you to sign a contract without having first had the time to review it at your leisure and call them with questions.
You also want to know if the person you are talking to even rides motorcycles. Now, as a rider you know the questions to ask to make sure you are not getting a load of B.S. If the person on the phone cannot tell you answers about their riding that convince you they are a rider, then hang up the phone. Get a lawyer that actually rides motorcycle and preferable one who can also work on a motorcycle. Do you even want to waste your time with someone who does not ride; the answer is a simple, NO.
So the simple questions to ask are:
- Who are you?
- Are you a lawyer?
- Are you a licensed lawyer in my State?
- Are you actually going to see me or are you sending someone else?
- Will you send me your contract to read before you visit?
- Are you a rider?
- Do you know anything about motorcycles?
- When was the last time you had a million dollar verdict, case number, case name, Client, courtroom and county it was tried in and check the story?
- Do not allow any person to send someone else, you deserve to deal with the person you talk to on the phone and nobody else and if that person can’t answer the above questions to your satisfaction, hang up.
Managing Your Injury Claim
You or your family member have been injured in a motorcycle accident.
How do you as a lay person manage your injury claim? Advise your insurance company as quickly as possible about how the accident happened. Then start compiling as much data and documentation about the accident and injury as possible. Start your document collecting by getting the police report, ambulance billing, and emergency room billing and records. Also make a copy of your insurance declarations page and put it in a manila file.
You should also take pictures of all injuries you or you family suffered in the accident including bruising, road rash, cuts etc. Go to the scene of the accident and take pictures of where it happened getting enough of a view so that one not familiar with the location can understand just by looking at the pictures where and how the accident happened. Take pictures of your motorcycle or motorcycles and the damage to them. A word to the wise, you can never take to many pictures of the scene, motorcycle damage or injuries. If you were riding with friends get them to write down what they saw and observed about how the accident happened. This may be invaluable later.
If the injuries are serious such as fractures, breaks or you are told you need surgery, hire a lawyer immediately. Be sure to hire an attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents. Do not simply look at an internet ad that says they do motorcycle accidents and make a decision. Look in the motorcycle magazines, such as this one and see if the attorney’s practice is primarily that of motorcycle accidents. Also determine if the attorney actually does ride. What type of bike does he own? Is your case going to be handled by the attorney you first talk to or will he farm your case out to someone else and take a percentage? Some motorcycle lawyers who advertise are not licensed in the state your accident happened in and will have to refer your case to someone in that state who is licensed. Can you really reach your lawyer 24-7 or do you get an answering service that forwards your call? Most of the internet advertisers do not ride motorcycles and simply advertise for motorcycle accidents. Get references from your friends and motorcycle clubs about who does motorcycle accidents. Compare the fees the attorneys will charge and look closely at their retainer agreements.
You have now compiled your initial documents for you or your family’s injury claim. The pictures, the police report, the initial medical records and billings, the initial witness statements, and you have reported it to your insurance company. You have researched, if a serious injury, fractures, scarring etc., for an appropriate motorcycle attorney that is also licensed in your state and available to personally talk to you 24/7. The attorney has personally met with you, even if it requires travel to your residence.
You have done your homework to protect you and your family by properly preparing and managing your personal injury case. In our next article we will deal with doctors and how to manage them and your appropriate medical care after a motorcycle accident.
Tire Pressure, Fluid Levels
I am constantly reviewing cases where a tragic accident happens and there are terrible injuries and the riders attribute the accident to a tire failure. The rider, while riding the motorcycle did nothing wrong in the riding of the motorcycle. The problem was the rider DID NOT CHECK tire pressure before starting the trip and a lack of tire pressure or rarely too much tire pressure caused the accident.
There is simply no substitute for properly mounted and properly inflated tires. These are your lifeline with the roadway. In order to properly accomplish this task, before each trip, you need a tire gauge that can be purchased in any automotive store or motorcycle shop. Take a rag and some tire sidewall cleaner and find the proper tire pressure on the sidewall of your tire. Then inflate accordingly following the tire manufacturer's guidelines on the sidewall. Do not fill your tire with more than the maximum air pressure called for on the sidewall because this can be a cause of tire failure during the ride.
Inspect the sidewalls also for cracks prior to riding the motorcycle after it has been sitting for an extended period of time. Cracks in the sidewall are a sign of tire dry rot and this can also lead to tire failure. Do not ride on a tire that has cracks in the sidewalls as you are looking for a catastrophe if you do.
Inspect the tread of the tire and do not ride on a tire that is has low tread on the tire. A bare tire or one close to bare is like asking for a loss of control during your ride. Always buy good tires that you have researched and are confident are well made and used in the motorcycle industry. Talk to your shop and do you own research before deciding on a tire.
So in summary, inspect your tire tread, the sidewalls and the air pressure before starting any ride of a significant distance. Always buy premium tires for your motorcycle. Fluid levels include transmission fluid, brake fluid, oil and fork fluid. One often ignored item is having your fork fluid changed. This should normally be done during routine maintenance but should always be done before any long trip. Before every ride check your oil level in accordance and in the manner as outline in your owners manual. If you don't have one, check the internet they are all there in most instances. Also check your transmission fluid in the manner outlined in your owner’s manual. Brake fluid should also be checked, and make sure you ONLY use the brand of brake fluid outlined in your owner’s manual because the failure to use the PROPER brake fluid can lead to brake failure. So a safe ride can be enjoyed more with a little preventive maintenance before taking off for the ride.